We need to establish the standard for immigration into this country under federal law if we are to understand the severe detrimental impact we have suffered due to this abrogation of responsibility by Congress regarding this issue for the past 40 years.
Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code reads as follows:
§1325. Improper entry by alien
(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection; misrepresentation and concealment of facts
Any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.
(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties
Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to enter) the United States at a time or place other than as designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil penalty of-
(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or attempted entry); or
(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under this subsection.
Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be imposed.
It is clear under this law that illegal entry by any person to the United States is a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony on the second or later offense.
In April 1980 the Carter Administration permitted approximately 125,000 Cubans to enter the United States under what became known as the Mariel Boatlift. The disruption to Dade County, Florida, was almost immeasurable. The largest bond issue in American history was implemented by Dade County in the amount of $900 million.
Among these 125,000 Cubans entering the United States, it has been estimated that 25,000 were criminals and persons released from psychiatric institutions by Fidel Castro, who offered them the opportunity to go to the United States and leave Cuba.
Having been on the air in Miami at the time, I witnessed a murder rate in Dade County for 1980 that was the highest per capita in the world. I wrote an op-ed in the Miami Herald entitled “SOS: Save Our South Florida.” Our radio station did a campaign regarding the need for border control to stop the uncontrolled crime and illegal entry that had been taking place.
Now move forward to today. Since President Biden has taken office, the number of illegal entrants has tripled. The number of arrests of illegal immigrants has dropped by 60% in February under Biden. This drop is based on the last three months of the Trump Administration as compared to February.
There were 47 illegal alien children entering the United States on average each day in January. On March 1, it was 321 unaccompanied minors entering on that day alone. And, of course, the Biden Administration is using the same facilities to house these children as the Trump Administration. In addition, this administration is now planning to build more facilities at the border due to the surge in illegal entries.
The follow up question is what happens to these children? Will they be forced on communities around the country to take care of them? Have they been tested for Covid-19 before entry? Have they been examined medically for other possible transmissible diseases? What will be the cost to the American taxpayer to take care of these children? Will additional teachers need to be hired who are bi-lingual since most of these children do not speak English?
We also know that “catch and release” is now back in place. Under the Trump Administration, this policy was ended. It meant that people from Central America or Mexico trying to enter the United States would have to wait in Mexico until they had a hearing on whether they would be authorized for admittance into the United States.
The Biden Administration has again instituted this policy. That means that, before any hearing for admission. These individuals are given case numbers and are expected to attend the hearing when it is their time, which could be years away. Over 90% never attend this hearing and wind up living in the United States illegally.
Congress has to face its responsibility that it has abdicated for four decades. There have been thousands of innocent Americans killed by illegal aliens in this country. I have interviewed dozens of family members of numerous victims of these crimes. Their loved ones are no longer with them, arguably because Congress has never faced up to passing meaningful immigration legislation.
As we speak, Joe Biden has not been to the border to see first-hand the chaotic situation his executive orders have created. Even Henry Cuellar, a Democratic Congressman representing the southern border in Texas, has urged the president to visit and observe what his policies have done.
Stay tuned for that visit and for Congress to step up.
Mike Siegel is a Goodyear resident who has a radio show on KFNX 1100 AM from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays.